The 54th Annual Clay Minerals Society Conference


The first Clay Minerals Society Conference to be held in conjunction with the  Oil Sands Clay Conference will take place June 2nd – 7th, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta.

The Oil Sands Clay Conference is a biannual conference on the impact of clays on oil sands extraction, processing and tailings treatment/remediation and reclamation. The Oil Sands Clay Conferences have successfully blended both academic and applied research presentations, including expert guest speakers and conference delegates from Alberta, Canada, North America and around the world to solve problems in the oil sands industry caused by clays.

The Conference is organized by the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability, one of NAIT’s[1] applied research centres and The Clay Minerals Society, supported by BUKSA Associates.

The scientific program of the 2017 Clay Minerals Society Conference will bring together the leading minds from disciplines related to clays and clay minerals. It will consist of technical sessions that include oral and poster presentations focused around the theme of Living Clays. Attendees will be immersed in the world of clays and will have the chance to network with like-minded researchers from industry and academia as well as related technology professionals.

Edmonton is the gateway to the North and a spectacular place to visit. The capital of Alberta has North America’s largest urban parkway running through the city which offers visitors and locals alike the chance to explore over 100 km of trails without leaving the city. Edmonton is home to West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls in the world. With an indoor waterpark, theme park, and over 800 stores, West Edmonton Mall is a worth a visit.

Clay and Oil Sands…

Nearly 100 square miles of tailings can be found adjacent to the oil sands mining region near Fort McMurray, Alberta (270 Miles, NE of Edmonton).  This byproduct of oil sands mining continues to be one of industry’s toughest environmental challenges. Separating water from the suspended clays, residual bitumen and polymer solutions on a big enough scale remains difficult.

Tailings are a mixture of clay, silt, sand, residual bitumen and water that remain after bitumen is extracted from the sand at oil sands extraction plants. This watery waste stream is transported by pipeline and deposited in ponds where the majority of the solids — mostly sand — settle to the bottom. The remaining fluid — mostly clay, silt, and water — flow to the middle of the pond and separate into a water cap on the top of the pond and a mature fine tailings (MFT) at the bottom of the pond. The water is available for reuse in the extraction process. The MFT does not settle into a material suitable for reclamation for many decades.


[1] About NAIT
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health; and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta